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New ways to calculate the risks of surgery

Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2010

Risk calculators, used by heart surgeons for several years, are now being developed for other surgical specialties, the Wall Street Journal reports. The American College of Surgeons, for example, recently introduced calculators for surgery of the colon and pancreas, and is designing similar tools for 18 other procedures. The calculators use data from more than one million patient records gathered as part of the group's National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, which works with hospitals to reduce surgical errors and complications. Calculators allow surgeons to enter a patient's risk variables and receive a customized report outlining the risk of death and specific complications, the Journal reports.